Two conditions that are sometimes confused with one another are tinnitus and TMJ disorder. This is because both are associated with sounds, oftentimes clicking or popping, in the ears. In this post, we review what the conditions are, how to tell the difference between them and how to find relief.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a phantom sound in the ears with no external source. It can present in many ways, such as ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling, humming, buzzing, clicking or popping. A symptom rather than a disease itself, there is no cure unless the underlying cause can be identified and treated.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects your lower jaw to your skull. When it’s not working as it should, it is known as TMJ disorder.
How Can I Tell the Difference Between Tinnitus & TMJ Disorder?
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, you may have other audiological problems as well, like hearing loss and balance problems. The reason it’s common for all of these conditions to occur together is because they all have to do with the inner ear. In addition, almost all cases of tinnitus are subjective, meaning the sounds can only be heard by the person experiencing it.
If you’re experiencing TMJ disorder, you’ll also experience other problems with your jaw, like pain and stiffness. You may only be able to open your mouth to a certain point before it locks up. Also, the clicking and popping sounds caused by TMJ disorder are objective and can oftentimes be heard by others.
Note that both conditions can occur together. A 2019 study reports, “We hypothesize that stress could contribute to the co-occurrence of TMJ problems and tinnitus and also to the development of severe tinnitus.”
What Are Ways to Manage Tinnitus?
There are many ways to manage tinnitus, including:
- Hearing aids
- Tinnitus maskers
- White noise machines
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Tinnitus-retraining therapy
- Classes at unbound SOUL in Bellevue to destress and unwind
What Is the Treatment for TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder has many treatment options, as well, such as:
- Soft food diet
- Physical therapy
- Mouth guards or splints
- Corticosteroid injections
For more information about these conditions or to schedule an appointment with a tinnitus expert, call Nelson Hearing Clinics today.